Blog Archives

STEEEEERRIKE! Is a Blinding Fastball Enough?

NOTE:   Here in the thick of World Series season, it reminded me of this post from last spring.


So I was listening to a Grapefruit League game on the radio yesterday and I feel the first stages of  full blown BaseballFever.  I guess it’s time for a baseball/business analogy.

Two pitchers: One consistently throws 97-98 MPH 4-seamers. He has other pitches but nothing spectacular.  The other has a fast ball that doesn’t go much above 86-87. His specialty is alternating the fast ball with a 65MPH change-up.  He also throws a great curve that drops straight down at just the right moment.

They are both about the same age and their ERAs are similar.  Which one is the more valuable pitcher.  The answer according to Schwartz’ Guide To Baseball is the second pitcher.   His variety and control can make him unbeatable.

He has BALANCE

Balance is important in your sales an marketing efforts as well.  You may be bringing in 5 new accounts per month.  That’s all fine and good, but what are you doing to retain and grow your existing clients?

Keep a close eye, not only on revenue but also on how long clients actually stay with you.  A successful business will do it all.

OK – enough of this,  back to the game!  Here’s one of my favorite Yankees combining two of his talents – baseball and music.

DWI – Don’t Wing It! (Well, maybe once)

There are going to  be moments when you are faced with having to answer a question or concern from a client or prospect that you’ve never had to answer before.   You have two options.

You can take the question under advisement and promise a response after you research it.  Or you can improvise an answer.  Which choice you make is Read the rest of this entry

Let’s Talk About You Now. What Do You Think Of My Hair?

Did you ever have a conversation with someone who talks like that?  Would you buy anything from them?

Guess what – the rest of the world is just like you.  Most people are turned off by someone who speaks only about themselves.  The instinct is to get away as fast as possible.

To bond with others and have them look forward to talking with you, you’ll have to demonstrate that you are interested in them.  If someone’s goal is to avoid you, what are the odds that they will buy what you sell?

You can’t fake interest either Read the rest of this entry

Lose the Lingo: Talk to Clients in Humanspeak

Whatever your profession it is likely that you know more about it than your client/prospect.  In fact, that is probably one of the reason he chose you.  So when you’re speaking to him don’t speak to him in lingo – phrases that mean something to someone inside your industry but will not necessarily mean anything to a layman [laywoman] [layperson].

There are a few reasons why you need to speak human – not in professionalese.

  1. Many people will not know what you mean.
  2. If they have to constantly ask you to explain what you’re saying it can make them feel like they are deficient in some way.
  3. If they pretend they do understand and don’t ask, then they are not getting the message you are trying to deliver.
  4. It can make you look pompous and arrogant.  You are not speaking with them in order to show off how smart you are.

For the most part people would much rather have a salesperson say something like “Based on my understanding of your needs – this product will get it all done for you” as opposed to giving me a long dissertation on the inner workings of the product only to have the explanation end with “Based on my understanding of your needs – this product will get it all done for you.”

The caveat to this is that there are some personality types that want to know every gory detail. You’ll know who those folks are quickly when they keep asking detailed questions.


Why B2B Sales People Should Be Working on Days Surrounding Holidays

If you’re a B2B sales person with even a modicum of experience you’ve learned that if you have a prospect or client that is tough to reach, a proven technique is to give them a call during off-hours.  Calling them early before their day hits full throttle or calling them after the end of the work day when they are less likely to be embroiled in the middle of a meeting or project give you greater odds of having a meaningful conversation.

If you do reach your contact, he will likely be impressed with your diligent follow up, which raises your credibility in the universe of sales people who are after him. If you don’t reach him – leave a voice mail.  He will still be impressed with your diligence.  You can’t really lose.

Same rule applies to the days just before and just after a holiday.This is one of the most successful sales techniques, in my experience.

While you may not reach your contact when you do this, you certainly won’t reach him if don’t.  As above, the odds are that he will make note of the fact that you are working when most people are not.

If you want to take it to the next level, just make a round of calls to your existing clients – just to wish them a happy holiday.

Some great times to reach out:

  • Mid-afternoon on the day before Thanksgiving
  • Late morning on the day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • December 26
  • New Year’s Eve
  • January 2

I’m not advocating that you give up all your personal time and work 24/7.  I am far from being a workaholic.  I think it is counterproductive. Having a balanced life makes you much more successful at your job.  What I’m suggesting actually takes very little time.  The fact is that you won’t reach most of the people you call – but if you do, the contact may actually have the time to talk with you with fewer distractions.

So if you spend an hour on Black Friday making a few calls – go in an hour late on Monday.

This is about differentiation.  I doubt that your competitors are doing this.

Top 5 Cold Call Openings to Alienate Prospects

If you’re a regular reader, you know my thoughts on cold calling. For those of you who are new the neighborhood let me lay it out.

  • Cold Calling is a function of marketing – not sales.
  • It is not the most productive use of your time.
  • If you find that getting in the “cold call zone” works for you – knock yourself out.

If you do choose to prospect in this fashion, it’s pretty easy to alienate the prospect in about 3 seconds.  The commonality of these technique is that they from the the assumption that you can fool someone in talking with you before they learn you are a sales person. Trying to trick someone is akin to saying that you are smarter than they are – not the best way to begin a positive relationship.

Here are some surefire methods to alienate prospects instantly.


Number 5: Hi, my name is Felix. The company I work for is looking for a  top [profession] in your area to partner with us.

Number 4: Hi John, my company is in a bit of a bind. We’ve acquired some highly qualified sales leads and don’t have anyone in your town to work them. Could you help us out by responding to these hot prospects?

Number 3: Hi John, my company is doing a survey of people in [industry] and I was wondering if you’d be interested in being a part of it.


Number 2: Hi John,  Are you making the most money you can as a [profession]?


Number 1: Are you closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community!

Does Salesaphobia Prevent You From Selling?

You may be someone who trips over his  own feet to prove to the world that he loves all people equally.  You may be someone who is a bigot and proud of it. You may be somewhere in between.

It doesn’t matter where you fall on that scale. We are all SALESAPHOBES to one degree or another. This prejudice stems partially from our own experience.

  • Who hasn’t spent hour upon hour with a time-share representative and their aggressive, never-say-die closing techniques, so we can get two free movie tickets or a night in a $12 – dollar hotel.
  • Perhaps you are still driving a 1987 Ford Escort because you can’t endure driving from dealer to dealer listening to a endless chorus of “What can I do to put you in this car today?
  • Maybe your next door neighbor joined an MLM and you have started only going outside to get your mail at midnight to avoid hearing him try to explain to you that “This one is different – you need to come to a meeting.”

When you add in a lifetime of watching movies like Death of a Salesman, Glengarry Glenn Ross, Boiler Room etc. it’s no wonder that you’ve developed a bad taste in your mouth for people who want to sell you things.

So it’s not a far stretch that our own image of salespeople gets in the way of selling our own products or services. You don’t want people to think that you are one of THOSE people.

It’s a real conundrum though, isn’t it?  After all, if you don’t sell the thing you do, then no one is going to buy it and your vocation goes back to being a hobby.

The cure is to realize that you do not have to change who you are, or compromise your values or alienate people in order to sell what you sell.  Just allow your own personality and your passion for what you do come across.

Be yourself.  Learn how to articulate the value of what you sell in your own words. Identify prospects who benefit by having what you sell.  If you do all of that properly you will never have to pressure people into making a buying decision – they’ll make it on their own.

If you sincerely believe that what you sell will be helpful to people, you just have to let that show through.  If you don’t believe that what you sell will be helpful to people then you may want to rethink your line of business.